Where's "Home"? and Whose is it?

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Mon Aug 11 21:33:31 MDT 2003


Laura Kamienski wrote:

So supporting the BTTHN slogan is a simply a tactic. One worth
discussing the merit of, as we are here. If we use it knowing full well
it won't result in the de-mobilization of the troops, it becomes a
tactic primarily for the purpose of propagandizing and to support
nascent radicalization. We must be very open and clear about our
politics while interacting with reformist movements.

We need to develop a strategy, based on the _reality_ of current forces
and decide if supporting the BTTHN movement is sagacious. I believe, at
this point, it is. "One of the most important results of the 1946 "Bring
us home" movement was that it served notice that the U.S. troops would
not allow themselves to be used against their brothers, either at home
or abroad."


Response: Any comments on the thrust of this missive? Just as all sorts of
male activists often advance slogans without any regard to how those slogans
might sound--or what they might really mean--to women, how about giving some
thought about how certain slogans like "Bring the Troops 'HOME'" might
sound--what they might really mean--to Indigenous Peoples in those
geographic spaces to which the term "Home" refers.

The generic "Home" to which this slogan refers is stolen lands and a
source/system of genocide--extermination of the real "Homes" of Indigenous
Peoples. This is why many Indigenous activists want nothing to do with some
non-Indigenous leftists, academics and activists; they just don't get it and
refuse to get educated.

I remember some of our Elders watching hundreds of thousands demonstrating
against the bombing of Iraq, and they supported those demonstrations, asking
me: "When are they going to get around to us?" "When do these 'progressives'
get around to the very real genocide going on right under their noses;
genocide in which they are complicit with their self-imposed ignorance
of--and silence about--our realities and oppression." or "We see women
demanding that men address their own sexism and show solidarity; we see gays
demanding that non-gays address their own homophobia and show solidarity; we
see Greens demand that citizens and non-Greens address their own wasteful
and destructive lifestyles and show some solidarity with the activists and
issues; whe see African-Americans and Latinos demand that
non-African-Americans and Latinos address some of their ignorance and racism
and show some solidarity; when do the non-Indigenous peoples care
about--enough to learn something about--the genocide we suffer every day and
show some solidarity with us." "When do some of our issues show up in
Monthly Review and other progressive media beyond the level of titular
mention on occasion.?" "Are we not as cute, esoteric, interesting, worthy of
notice etc as whales, trees, workers, East Timorese, Palestinians, gays,
Etc?"

Those are some of the kinds of questions I get asked all the time; It is
like being in "no person's land." Among some Natives I am sometimes accused
of trying to bring in but another "White Man's Religion"--Marxism--and among
some Marxists I get abysmal ignorance about--and/or no real concern shown
for--Indigenous issues and/or get accused of trying to bring in another kind
of "opiate of the masses"--Native Spirituality.


Jim C.




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